Data: S&P Global; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of bonds trading at distressed levels has continued to fall since the Fed stepped in with its QE infinity program and promise to buy hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate debt.

Why it matters: The recovery has disproportionately benefited sectors where the Fed has shown it is willing to intervene, as companies with weak credit ratings have issued far less debt this year and still face elevated default risk.

What's happening: The U.S. distress ratio — the percentage of speculative grade issuers trading 1,000 basis points above comparable Treasury yields — declined to 12.7% as of June 19 from 22.8% as of May 6, S&P Global reports.

  • S&P notes that investment-grade issuance has reached all-time highs this year, though issuance at the lower rating categories is still limited.

What they're saying: "The steep global recession and sudden and deep market dislocation have taken a heavy toll on speculative-grade issuers' revenues and access to funding sources," Sudeep Kesh, head of S&P Global Credit Markets Research, said in a note to clients.

  • "Due to central banks' and governments' rapid and sizable support programs, credit markets have since reopened, but access remains limited for riskier issuers rated 'B-' and below."
  • Oil and gas has the highest distress ratio of any sector at 40.2%, with $34.3 billion in distressed debt outstanding, or 29% of the total distressed debt, per S&P's data.

Go deeper

It's the corporate debt market's turn to ignore the real economy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The corporate debt market is beginning to follow the public equity market's lead in decoupling from the real economy.

Why it matters: Private equity and its lenders spent 2009 staring into the abyss. In 2020, they're just pretending it doesn't exist.

19 mins ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Fear of voting

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.0% margin of error for the total sample; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to worry about in-person voting — with nearly two in three seeing it as a large or moderate risk to their health — according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This could pose a significant disadvantage for Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates in November if the pattern holds — especially in states where high infection rates persist, or where there are significant hurdles to mail-in, absentee or early voting.

Trump: Coronavirus is "under control"

President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.

  • “They are dying, that's true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios' Jonathan Swan.